How to Be Successful With New Web Initiatives<br />One of the traps that many organizations fall into when launching a new Web initiative is putting the focus of the project on new technology or new functionality. Often clients will come to us and say "
our website needs video"
we need to start blogging"
let's put together an email campaign."
<br />To which we respond, Why? Are you trying to generate leads/sales? Do you want to provide information for educational purposes? Are you promoting an event? Do you want to grow your membership/contact list? And, How many people do you need to reach to make the project worth your time and budget?<br />The Expensive Way: Throw It Against the Wall and See if It Sticks!<br />Regardless of what you are doing with the new technology—building a website, developing a mobile application, creating a social-media campaign, or launching an email campaign—you have to start with the end result.<br />You can't be successful if you don't have a benchmark against which to measure results. Not only do you need to build your communication tool, but you also need a strategy for getting your content in front of your target audience and for driving action from the user.<br />If you post a video about the world's greatest product and no one sees it, how many people will buy the product?<br />What if everyone sees the video, but there are no instructions on how to buy the product?<br />What if the video quality is poor and it puts a negative impression of your overall brand in the mind of a potential customer?<br />All those questions should be answered in the planning process. The outline below takes you through some project phases that you need to include when launching any Web campaign.<br />The Process<br /><ul><li>Discovery</li></ul> You outline the project's goals, the strategy for successfully reaching your target audience, the campaign's key messages, the channels via which the message will be delivered, the timeline for each channel launch, the call to action, and the reporting process.<br /><ul><li>Technical structure and information architecture</li></ul>You lay out the technology being used in the campaign, the connections to and from any business systems, the end-user experience, and the priority of your content.<br /><ul><li>Graphic design</li></ul>Another trap to be aware of in Web-campaign development is designing before planning. You have to complete the information architecture so that you appropriately prioritize your primary content over your secondary and lower-level messages. When you do get to the design phase, image and branding are extremely important components. If your audience doesn't get an appropriate impression of your product, service, or brand in the split second they glance at your email or page, they won't bother to get into the content detail. Web design requires a specific skill set. Be sure that you work with designers who specialize in online media. Do not assume that your print materials will translate seamlessly to a Web-design project.<br /><ul><li>Build and integrate</li></ul> Start programming only after everything is laid out in function and design. That helps reduce your programming time, cost, and testing cycles significantly.<br /><ul><li>Launch, report, refine</li></ul>The launch is not a finishing point; rather, it's a starting point. It's where you execute the plan, manage the program, and report on the results. Most of the time, the launch consists of ongoing adjustments to content and functionality based on the results that you are generating from the campaign.<br />Conclusion<br />By following an organized process and ensuring you have the right personnel to manage each phase in the process, you will give your organization a much higher chance of success and avoid some common mistakes—or you can keep throwing things against the wall.<br />Case Study<br />How a New product launch via Facebook resulted in immediate sales. <br />When 3M Canada wanted to rejuvenate its Scotch Tape brand, it came up with a product that, at least for its mostly female target market, put Milton's red Swingline stapler to shame: The Scotch Shoe, a tape dispenser fashioned to resemble a heeled mary jane shoe and destined to turn heads in the drab office landscape. <br />Budget constraints, however, forced the company to get even more creative in promoting the new product, thereby leading to 3M's first product launch via the social network Facebook. <br />Although skeptics within the global 3M organization questioned this approach, 3M Canada viewed Facebook as a highly cost-effective means for directly reaching those who were most likely to become passionate about the product, and most likely to share that passion with family and friends.<br />Smart thinking<br />At a fraction of the cost of traditional media, this campaign has not only generated immediate sales and new excitement around the Scotch brand but also enabled the company to better understand its target market and forge relationships that will play to its favor well beyond this initial campaign.<br />Challenge<br />Since introducing the first marketable transparent tape in the early 1950s, 3M has enjoyed a boon that few brands experience: a brand name (i.e., Scotch Tape) that has become synonymous with the product category it represents.<br />Yet, Scotch Tape has become such a basic part of our everyday that it almost becomes as invisible as the effect it was invented to create. And for this reason, 3M Canada sought to revitalize the brand in 2008.<br />"
We have the sales and market share, but with a product like 'tape' it is difficult to get your consumers passionate about your product,"
said Brian Stephens, who handles e-marketing for 3M Canada's consumer and office division. "
It was really important for us to come out with a new product to grow our core business. We wanted a unique way to get tape back on the desk in the office and expand usage outside the gift-wrapping season."
<br />Targeting its largely female market, the company came up with a new red tape dispenser dubbed the Scotch Shoe, which resembles a heeled mary jane (a women's style of footwear). And major retailers across Canada agreed to stock it. But coming out with a new and exciting product was merely step one; next, 3M Canada had to generate awareness and buzz, and on a tight budget that put traditional media out of reach.<br />Campaign<br />Although a small amount of advertising was done in stores and on the company Web site, the bulk of 3M Canada's promotional efforts surrounding this new product launch went into a comprehensive Facebook campaign.<br />Facebook was identified for several reasons. First, it's low-cost. It is also considered Canada's top social-networking platform, with over 7.5 billion impressions per month and over 8.63 million active Canadian users, more than half of whom are female.<br />Furthermore, because the network offers access to detailed user demographic and interests data, the company considered it the best channel for directly targeting the people most likely to advocate or talk about its product.<br />The campaign, which launched in October 2008, included the following components:<br />1. A Facebook Page, which enabled the company to...<br />Create a targeted destination: Though it didn't have the proper budget to overhaul its product Web page, 3M Canada was able to quickly launch a dedicated page—designed to appeal to "
—on Facebook, for free. <br />Deliver product information in a relevant manner: Product images and videos were used to generate interest, and a list of stores where the product was available gave users the information they needed to take that next step. <br />Develop an interactive dialogue and relationship: Using surveys and discussion-board posts, 3M Canada was able to generate feedback from its target market and initiate conversations that it hopes will continue to foster consumer passion and loyalty toward its product and brand. <br />2. Contests, which helped the company to...<br />Drive traffic to the page: Users were provided incentive to visit the page and become fans through two contests: one offering a $100 Town Shoes gift card, and the other offering a chance to obtain the new shoe tape dispenser without purchase—both of which played off the interests of the target market. <br />Stimulate engagement and interaction on the page: To become eligible for the Scotch Shoe contest, users had to not only become fans of the page but also post "
comments, good or bad, about the shoe. (The Town Shoes contest required users to complete a brief survey, which allowed 3M Canada to also collect email addresses and other contact information.) <br />Spur increased awareness through user-generated content: There was little cost associated with running the contests; yet, this tactic of requiring fans to post comments to the wall increased exposure exponentially. <br />"
Once they place that comment on our wall, their friends can see it,"
said Stephens. "
They become advocates for the Scotch Tape brand, with organic content seeded throughout Facebook."
<br />3. Engagement ads, which allowed for...<br />Highly targeted promotion: Using fixed-CPM ads posted directly on users' homepages, 3M Canada began advertising the product launch in October and November with two ads targeting female Canadians only. One introduced the new tape dispenser product, and the other lured users with the opportunity to win the Town Shoes shopping spree. <br />Then, in December, a third ad was launched alongside the other two, this time targeting both male and female Canadians and promoting the red shoe dispenser as the "
perfect stocking stuffer."
<br />Real-time campaign management and results: With up-to-the-minute access to results data, the company was able to determine how its ads were performing in real time and adjust the rotation accordingly. <br />Influence from friends: All three ads also displayed which of the users' friends had already become Scotch Shoe fans, thereby enabling the company to leverage the influence of friends. <br />Results<br />The Facebook page created for this campaign has generated over 2,000 fans and close to 200 wall comments posted by fans.<br />The engagement ads also delivered over 1.5 million impressions and 300,000 clicks.<br />And the Scotch Shoe product sold out in stores almost immediately.<br />Stephens is confident that both the product and this promotion are helping to bring new life to the Scotch Tape brand.<br />Lessons Learned<br />This campaign, for which 3M Canada won an internal Marketing Excellence Award, has shown the company that...<br />Facebook provides a viable, low-cost platform both for launching a new product and for initiating relationships with consumers. <br />High-dollar prizes aren't required to generate interest and results in online giveaways. <br />A company doesn't need to be a major player in this space, nor an exciting mainstream brand, to run a successful Facebook campaign. <br />In fact, Stephens feels there's a certain advantage that comes with having a low-key brand: The fans it does acquire are choosing to engage, rather than demonstrate their brand loyalties to friends. Accordingly, they are more likely to share feedback and welcome the relationships the company is striving to build.<br />Facebook also provides unique access to consumer data and interests—such as favorite movies and books—which will help the company to refine those relationships in the future. For example, the company may be able to use that insight to determine attractive prizes for its next round of contests, initiate new topics of discussion on its page, or locate a theme for its next product innovation.<br />